Category: TEXAS

Case Dismissed

Drug Possession [Dallas]

Mr. Fultz was arrested on June 5, 2019, in a car in a Mesquite apartment complex parking lot. At book-in, a jailer alleged heroin was found on his person so he was also charged with felony drug possession.

As is common in Dallas County, the TX DPS lab tasked with testing the alleged heroin took its time. Having seen this drill many times, Haslam quickly demanded a speedy trial by written motion. Twice.

With no drugs proved up by a lab, the prosecutors couldn’t take the claim to a grand jury for indictment. After 24 months passed, Haslam filed a motion to dismiss for denial of Scotty’s right to a speedy trial. Like clockwork, the prosecutor who had sat on the case pawned it off to another lawyer in another trial court. Like clockwork, they got the lab report and an indictment. Too late.

The second prosecutor did her best to salvage the case from the first lawyer’s indifference, but Haslam insisted on a hearing on the motion to dismiss. Ten minutes before the hearing, the prosecutor dismissed the case and the court waived all Scotty’s court costs.

Not guilty

FAILURE TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER [Lamar County]

Criminal Charge: Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
Case: State v. Joe Dennis Winton
Court: [Lamar County][Cause 26115]
Result: Not Guilty
Docket View: Docket sheet stricken because the Defendant was found not guilty.

Mr. Winton was charged with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender about 10 weeks after he discharged a life sentence in September 2015. He had been in the Texas Department of Corrections for about 28 years. Because of his prior convictions, he was looking at another 5-99 years in the penitentiary.

Lamar County officials alleged Joe knowingly and intentionally failed to apply for an annually renewable license within 30 days of his release. A Lamar County deputy interviewed Joe on videotape immediately after the arrest and got Joe to say he knew he was obligated to apply for this license instead of the normal license of a longer duration – even though Joe went on to explain he just forgot this requirement among the many others he was complying with.

The prosecutor played the video showing Joe “confess” to “knowingly” failing to get the right license, but the jury also heard Deputy Joel Chipman testify on direct that minor sex offenses like indecent exposure do not require registration. During Haslam’s cross-examination, Chipman admitted that indecent exposure CAN BE a registrable offense.

Perhaps it was watching a deputy sworn to tell the truth forget just which offenses are registrable that persuaded the jurors that Joe – like Chipman – may have known the law but simply forgot it in good faith. After sitting in jail 9 months awaiting trial, Joe was acquitted in 30 minutes by his jury.

Paris News, August 7, 2015: Sex Offender Acquitted of Non-Register

Not guilty

DELIVERY OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE [Lamar County]

Criminal Charge: Delivery of Controlled Substance [Enhanced to Habitual Offender Status]
Case: State of Texas v. Jerry Crabb [Cause 25375]
Court: [Lamar County] [2013]
Result:
Not Guilty

Mr. Crabb was charged with delivery of a controlled substance. Because he was also charged with the “habitual offender” enhancement, this third degree felony, which normally carries a sentencing range of 2-10 years in the Texas Department of Corrections, was enhanced to a first degree felony carrying a range of 25 years to life. The State offered Mr. Crabb 12 years in the penitentiary early in the case, then raised the offer to 18 years. Mr. Crabb rejected both offers.

Paris, TX police officers set up a “controlled buy” with a snitch in the snitch’s home. They arranged two cameras to capture the buy, then they told the snitch to call Mr. Crabb hoping he would bring drugs to the home. The snitch did call someone and the call was recorded; Mr. Crabb did arrive at the home some time later in the company of an unidentified man.

The three officers hid in the home while the snitch met the two men in his kitchen. The cameras captured all three men but there was no video of an actual drug sale. When Mr. Crabb and the man left, the officers let them go – no arrest was made. They claimed about 13 grams of methamphetamine were left behind, and they claimed they had thoroughly searched the home for drugs beforehand and none were on the property.

The case depended on the credibility of the snitch – a convicted drug user himself – to persuade the jury Mr. Crabb sold him the meth. At trial, Haslam argued that the snitch called the unidentified man, his dealer, rather than Mr. Crabb because he knew Mr. Crabb was not a dealer. He also knew, however, his dealer and Mr. Crabb worked a legitimate day job together and that the dealer would have to get a ride to the home. Haslam argued this is why the snitch steered the alleged buy away from the cameras so strategically placed by the three experienced officers: the snitch knew Crabb was not going to be selling him the drugs.

The jury returned a NOT GUILTY verdict in 50 minutes.